Susanna Reid fought back tears when she remembered Len Goodman on what would have been his 79th birthday on Tuesday.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain alongside Ed Balls, Susanna said she was ‘devastated’ after learning that the Strictly Chief Judge had passed away.
Len died in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells after a brief battle with bone cancer on Saturday night, days before his 79th birthday.
Presenter Susanna, 52, paid a sweet tribute to Len as she reminisced with Ed, 56, about their own personal experiences with the main judge during their time on Strictly Come Dancing.
Opening the show, she said, “Just devastating news about Len Goodman. I hadn’t even realized he was that bad and then all of a sudden he was gone.
Emotional: Susanna Reid fought back tears as she remembered Len Goodman on what would have been his 79th birthday on Tuesday
Much loved: Len died in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells after a brief battle with bone cancer on Saturday night, days before his 79th birthday
‘What a curious man. He started at the age of 11 in his grandfather’s salad stand. H trained as a welder, he loved football.
“It was an injury to his foot when he was playing football, which meant he ended up going to a dance studio with a buddy, just for rehabilitation, but he always admitted to me that it was for girls too.”
Susanna continued, “He was very old-fashioned, but we loved him. He was a phenomenal chief judge, wasn’t he? He was so reassuring and was so focused on the technical details.
“Len was the judge you really wanted to impress and he had a mischievous expression.”
Susanna joined Strictly in 2013 and teamed up with Kevin Clifton, while Ed joined the show in 2016 and became known for his iconic dances with Katya Jones.
Recalling Len, the former politician said: ‘He was always positive before hitting you with his criticism. He always gave me better grades than anyone else
“The best line for me he said was, ‘Ed, you’re not the best dancer. But you’re the people’s champion.'”
Memories: Presenter Susanna, 52, paid a sweet tribute to Len as she reminisced with Ed, 56, about their own personal experiences with the chief judge during their time on Strictly
Keep Dancing: Susanna competed in Strictly in 2013 and teamed up with Kevin Clifton
Iconic: Ed joined the show in 2016 and became known for his iconic dances with Katya Jones
Len passed away peacefully just days before his 79th birthday, surrounded by friends and family.
A spokesperson for Len told MailOnline: “I can confirm that he passed away peacefully over the weekend, surrounded by his family.”
They added that the former ballroom dancer was “a much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”
Anton Du Beke was overcome with emotion on Monday’s The One Show as he paid tribute to Len.
Anton appeared via videolink on the BBC programme, where he revealed the advice Len gave him before becoming a strict judge in 2021.
Chief Judge: Len was a much-loved judge on Strictly after joining the show when it launched in 2004 and remaining on the panel until 2016′ (Len pictured in 2010)
Illness: Len Goodman was only months out of retirement when he died (LR: Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli pictured in 2012)
The ballroom expert told viewers, “He said to me when I got the job…” before choking.
He continued, “Ridiculous, don’t you think? When I got the job, he said, “Say what you see and be yourself.” And that was just the way Len was. He was himself. I’ve been lucky enough to have known him for a long time.’
When Anton said he was “lucky to call Len a friend,” an emotional Alex replied, “Oh, what a lovely tribute.”
Len was a much loved judge on Strict after joining the show when it launched in 2004 and remaining on the panel until 2016.
Besides gaining a legion of fans in the UK, he also became a big name in the US after taking part in the US version of the show Dancing With The Stars. He stayed with the series from 2005 to 2022.
The TV star started his career as a welder and only became interested in dancing when his doctor told him to take it up to help him recover from a foot injury.
Len became a successful professional dancer, winning titles including the British Exhibition Championships and the World Exhibition Championships, and later continued his love of dance after his retirement by founding the Goodman Dance Academy in Kent to help others achieve their dreams. to make.
After gaining fame on television, he chronicled his rise to fame in his 2009 memoir Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom and went on to publish two more volumes – Len’s Lost London and Dancing Around Britain.
He announced his retirement from Dancing With The Stars last year and received his very own Mirrorball trophy in his final episode.
Len said of the honor, “That’s fantastic. “It was so much fun for me to be a part of Dancing with the Stars. It really has.
“I had such a great time and this is definitely the icing on the cake.”